Fly fishing is not a male domain! There are many women who have dedicated themselves to fly fishing and are actively involved in fly fishing. Today we introduce Michelle Ott. A woman who puts the focus on joy and sympathy than on titles and certificates.
Michelle Ott is 29 years young, married and works as a specialist in health and social services in the discharge management of a university hospital. A job that demands a lot from her and is littered with stressful moments. Fly fishing is the perfect balance to her demanding job. Michelle has been a member of the sport fishing club "Schloss Weitenburg" since 2012 and is committed to an intact body of water with excellent landscape conservation and good fish stocks. The "Schloss Weitenburger" focus on the natural continuation of the fish - not only on stocking measures.
We asked Michelle Ott a few questions:
How long have you been a member of EFFA and how did you get involved?
Michelle Ott: I have been a member of EFFA since 2017, so I am still a very young member. I was already aware of EFFA as an organisation a few years before. However, I only became curious after meeting our EFFA president Daniele di Fronzo. He impressively told me about EFFA's goals and projects. I was enthusiastic.
How did you get into fly fishing?
Michelle Ott: I first came into contact with fly fishing when I moved to Switzerland in 2009. I was immediately enthusiastic and so I took a casting course with Andreas Esslinger Senior that year, who also taught me how to tie flies. Years later, however, I was able to learn a lot from my good friend Martin Wannenmacher and so many things became clear to me that I had not thought about at all before. To this day, I am very grateful to both of them for their many inputs and sharing of experiences.
Do you have a favourite water?
Michelle Ott: The Neckar is still my home water and therefore also my favourite. I also know the Inn in the Upper Engadine and the lakes quite well and love fishing there. I'm also very fond of the Passer in South Tyrol. The Passer is relatively unspoilt and still flows quite naturally through the valley. The occurrence of Marmorata is very exciting, as is the good population of adult salmonids that has been achieved with the "no kill policy".
Do you have any fly fishing preferences?
Michelle Ott: I prefer fishing for grayling with the dry fly. When I target the rising fish and visibly see how the grayling takes the fly, that is the greatest thing for me - an attraction with a very special charm.
Which fishing destination would you definitely like to visit?
Michelle Ott: Unfortunately, it's difficult for me to answer this question. I find that every body of water, no matter where it is in the world, has its own charm. Whether it's fishing the flats of the Seychelles or salmon fishing in Canada. I could make friends with almost any destination. At the end of February, I travelled to South Africa with my husband for 3 weeks, and of course the fly rod was also in my luggage. Due to the drought, however, the rivers had no water and so we were unfortunately unable to fish with the fly. That's nature.
Do you have a tactic on the fishing water?
Michelle Ott: If I have my target fish in my sights, I can bite on it. Even if it means losing time and not being able to fish many other good spots. But it's usually worth it and I'm even happier with my catch. Well, maybe I talk more during fishing than men :- ), but that doesn't necessarily mean anything. I can still concentrate fully on the fishing with every cast.
How do you encounter the male fishing world on the water?
Michelle Ott: I have had mixed experiences. However, most encounters are nice and friendly. Many men are happy to meet a woman on the water. It is noticeable that when I am out and about with my husband, the dialogue tends to be directed at the male part. According to the motto "I'm sure the woman is just along for the ride".
What is the most important thing for you when you are on the fishing water?
Michelle Ott: The most important thing is to have fun and have a good time at the Fischwasser. Even on a bad day or business stress, fishing can instantly relax you and take your mind off the rest of the world.
What does fly fishing mean to you?
Michelle Ott: Fly fishing is a part of my life. My husband also discovered this hobby for himself through me, so we spend a lot of time together on the water. It is part of it and has become an essential part of it. Respectful treatment of the living creature fish and nature have the highest priority for me.
Do you have a special tip for women who want to start fly fishing or develop their skills?
Michelle Ott: Women often find it difficult to get a foothold in a male domain and I think they have a lot more insecurities when it comes to casting, for example. I think we need a different kind of approach and explanation. I couldn't even describe it in more detail though. Women just have a different kind of need.
What could EFFA do for the advancement of women?
Michelle Ott: In general, the promotion of women would be more than appropriate. At many fairs, I have noticed that in the area of throwing demos, it is exclusively men. Why shouldn't women also be able to do this - ambitious women even without a "title" or certificate! I know some such women but without a title. I don't want to badmouth "titles and certificates" in any way. Quite the opposite. I think it's good to create quality criteria and thus make levels and achievements measurable and transparent.
From my experience, women take courses with the types of people/teachers who they primarily like and who can teach well. There is no title or certificate in the foreground.
Interview: Stefan Schramm
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